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Homeward Bound

1933-1934 E. Martin Hennings Born: Penns Grove, New Jersey 1886 Died: Taos, New Mexico 1956 oil on canvas 30 1/4 x 36 1/4 in. (76.8 x 92.1 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor 1964.1.62 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

E. Martin Hennings's painting for the Public Works of Art Project portrays two Native Americans from Taos Pueblo: a man wrapped in a traditional white blanket and a woman wearing a colorful shawl. This serene painting speaks of the deep love Hennings felt for Taos, New Mexico, where he was a leading member of the artists' colony. His subjects walk quietly through the snow together as the sun sets behind them. In works like this, Hennings created poetic visual connections between the people of Taos and the stunning high desert where they lived. Here the artist contrasts the man's warm blanket, lit by the golden sunset, with the cold covering of snow on the ground, cast into blue shadows by the hills in the west. Hennings links the two figures to their home landscape by likening them to the tall native sunflowers standing against the sky with their long stalks gracefully intertwined. While many PWAP artists documented timely scenes of the Great Depression, Hennings chose to celebrate the continuity of local traditions.

1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label


Ethnic - Indian

Figure group

Landscape - mountain

Landscape - river

Travel - land

New Deal - Public Works of Art Project - New Mexico


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About E. Martin Hennings

Born: Penns Grove, New Jersey 1886 Died: Taos, New Mexico 1956

More works in the collection by
E. Martin Hennings